I’ve always been a big fan of tennis. Growing up our family would always watch the big matches—Borg vs. McEnroe or Martina Navratilova vs. Chris Evert. I took a few lessons as a kid but really only started playing regularly the past few years. It’s such a fantastic social sport for all skill levels and a game that you can play well into your later years. Since I’ve been playing on Terri’s Tennis Ladder for a few seasons, I thought it would be fun to learn more about the woman behind the website—Terri Sanz.
Married to: Ed Sanz
Children: Alex Sanz (26), Nikki Sanz (22)
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
Years in Charlotte: 1965-1980, 1996-present
1) When did you start playing tennis and how did your love of the sport develop?
I played on my middle school and high school tennis teams in Charlotte. I stopped playing in college when I had major surgery on my eye to save my vision. That surgery caused permanent double vision, and I didn’t think I would play again. I lived in Atlanta (a huge tennis city) where I started playing again and got used to my handicap.
Because of my love of tennis, I started my kids playing at age 4 and volunteered helping various clubs run their junior tennis teams. As my kids advanced in their tennis, I expanded my tennis occupations: coaching middle school team, running tennis tournaments, officiating junior tournaments and later college matches.
2) You started the ladder in 2013. How many players do you now have and did you have any idea that you would grow so quickly?
As an avid singles player, I noticed a need for more singles opportunities, and I started a tennis ladder for Charlotte Tennis Association in 2005. After adding doubles and mixed doubles to this format and running that ladder for 8 years, I left the organization and began my own ladder (Terri’s Tennis Ladder) in 2013. It took off and soon became the largest tennis ladder in the area. I run 4 seasons per year, the largest being summer season with nearly 1,100 players. We currently have over 800 players this fall season.
3) How exactly does Terri’s Tennis Ladder work?
Terri’s Tennis Ladder is a year-round tennis league for Men and Women of all abilities in the Greater Charlotte Area. Four seasons are offered each year – each lasting 9-10 weeks with a playoff tournament at the end of each season. This program offers you the opportunity to meet other players at your level while providing you flexibility with your schedule. You play as often or as infrequently as you want, whatever time suits your schedule, and wherever you find convenient.
More information found on website: www.terristennisladder.com
4) How is playing on your ladder different than playing in a tennis league?
This flex format is very different from most leagues which require a weekly commitment on the same day at the same time. Some players want to play more often, and some have travel schedules that prohibit a certain day/time commitment. There is also a playoff tournament at the end of the season for the top players on each ladder – all included in the low cost of $25 for singles ($20 for doubles) for the whole season.
5) Your ladder represents a wide variety of skill levels from beginners to extremely advanced players. What advice would you give to newcomers of the sport who may feel intimidated about joining a ladder?
Due to the relaxed format of this ladder, intimidation and stress are greatly reduced. This is a great way for players to practice certain shots in a competitive format without the stress of “winning” for their team. It’s also a great way for beginners to learn about playing matches with players of their own ability.
6) Tennis is such a social sport and a great way to meet new people. I’m guessing you’ve heard a lot of stories of friendships forming through the ladder?
I have heard countless stories of how players have started and cultivated great friendships due to the ladder. I have also been successful in pairing players together on the doubles and mixed doubles ladders who have continued to play together in subsequent seasons. And because this ladder provides the opportunity to meet others at your level, many have also found USTA teams to join.
Just for fun…
Favorite male tennis player: Andre Agassi – I even got the opportunity to play with him and Jimmy Connors 6 years ago – bucket list!
Favorite female tennis player: Steffi Graf
Favorite place to play tennis ever: Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic
Favorite dining spot in Charlotte: Oggi’s Ristorante in South Charlotte
Best place to enjoy a post match cocktail: Anywhere outside with tennis friends